On Friday 3 October I arrived in Plitvice NP. I was a bit worried before arriving in Croatia, because along the way to my destination I found some autumn colours in wooded areas lower than Plitvice lakes. I feared to be a bit late as Plitvice is located at higher altitudes and the colours should normally arrive earlier up there.
Mrs Antonjia Duimovic, the park manager, and my guide Ante Bionda gave me some info about timing before my departure and, when in the national park, I realized they were right; the mixed woods were still green with large patches of yellow and orange here and there: the season was just about to start.
Soon after arriving, Ante and I decided to have a walk to check some crucial spots for great vistas of the waterfalls, lakes and woods. I had my gear with me, but we were in the middle of the day, so I knew I had to wait till late afternoon for better opportunities for shooting.
We walked a trail uphill to get beautiful views from above and to avoid the tourists’ crowd walking down along the banks of the lakes; to be honest, I did not expect to find so many people in this season. Ante told me that also Japanese are more and more numerous; they come to Croatia for a couple of weeks and never miss to visit Plitvice.
We spent some hours walking and planning for the next day, then we went down to a very beautiful waterfall: we left the path and came closer to the travertine barrier where the water falls down with great noise. I started taking pictures of the rocks, mosses and water….my first pictures in Plitvice after many years, I was really excited!
Nice light, crystal clear water, autumn colours and very good smell everywhere, everything was perfect.
The plan for the day was to get up very early and to reach the only location from which Veliki Prstavci, one of the most beautiful waterfalls, can be well photographed. My great hopes for a dramatic daybreak light on the morning after vanished after a storm arrived during the night.
Lightnings and heavy rain in nighttime and rain again for the whole of the following day.
In the afternoon we had time for a visit to a very old watermill, where Ante’s friend, an 81-year-old man still works and lives alone; it was a moving encounter and I was really impressed by the man, by his very simple house built close to a stream in a tiny clearing surrounded by a thick, dark forest.
Just a very old wood-burning stove to cook and heat inside and a few basic furnitures. He was born there, his wife died several years ago and his son is a teacher working abroad. He wants to stay in that place because he chose to live very close to nature.
On 5 october Ante and I met before 6 a.m and after half an hour we were in the location we chose to photograph, the beautiful Veliki Prstavci. This time all the elements seemed to cooperate with us: the fog hanging over the lakes and the waterfall, the autumn colours and light of dawn added some magic to that extraordinary landscape. I could not really hope anything more and after more than one hour shooting we were on our way back, very satisfied to have been so lucky on this occasion.
I spent the rest of the morning close to a waterfall and its surroundings, looking carefully for details and abstractions on the water surface and in the moss covered travertine barrier.
I tried to keep an open mind and to follow what this unique corner of Europe was offering to a photographer in search of beauty.
High in Plitvice’s mountains there is a tract of virgin forest called Corkova Uvala; I am looking forward to photographing it, but I have to wait for overcast light and mist - the right conditions to get atmospheric shots.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.